Zentai (from the Japanese ゼンタイ) is a term for skin-tight garments that cover the entire body.[1] The word is a portmanteau of zenshin taitsu (全身タイツ) ("full-body tights").[2] Zentai is most commonly made using nylon/spandex blends.[3]
Some companies have tried to create mainstream brands of the suits by dropping the traditional name; examples include RootSuit or Superfan Suit in the United States, Bodysocks[4] or Second Skins by Smiffy's[5] and Morphsuits in the United Kingdom, and Jyhmiskin in Finland. Morphsuits has achieved relative commercial success internationally. Between January and late October 2010, the company shipped 10,000 to Canada alone.[6] Morphsuits brand has actively tried to disassociate themselves from the existing zentai community, occasionally being listed as the product's co-inventor.[7] Superfan Suits acknowledges in interviews that the outfits have existed previously.[8] Their[clarification needed] term has become somewhat generic in the process; one New Zealand-based newspaper refers to competing brand Jaskins as "one of the main online morphsuit brands." Jaskins company founder Josh Gaskin says their origins are unclear, pegging the first usage with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. These suits are used by animators: the original colors offered allowed the person wearing the chroma key suit to be lifted easily from a video image.[9]
Mainstream use
This mainstream push has made them relatively common apparel at major sporting events, and created internationally recognized personalities out of The Green Men, two fans of the Vancouver Canucks NHL team.[10] Various professional street dance/hip hop dance groups use the outfits, such as The Body Poets in the United States,[8][11] and Remix Monkeys in the United Kingdom.[12]
Other applications of the bodysuits have included music videos (Black Eyed Peas' song "Boom Boom Pow", including the live performance at the Super Bowl), breast cancer awareness,[13][14] fashion modeling on an episode of America's Next Top Model, social anxiety workshops, television (Charlie Kelly as Green Man), [15] a participant in public art project "One & Other",[16] and social experiments.[17][18] A British theme park offered free admission for those in zentai in the colours of their park logo.[19]
Legal limitations
Since Zentai cover one's face, a fine of up to €150 is issued to those who wear them publicly in France. Furthermore, Some sports leagues, such as Major League Baseball, ban the use of the costume hoods.[20]